Mirror, Hong Kong Music Icons, on ‘Rumours’ English-Language Debut, Comparisons With K-Pop and Last Year’s Onstage Accident (EXCLUSIVE)

Mirror, "Rumours" single.

To the 12 members of Mirror, forming a boy band and becoming Hong Kong’s Canto-pop singing sensation upon winning a reality show in 2018 was a dream come true. Five years on, the boys are dreaming bigger than ever.

“Some of us really want to join Marvel,” Mirror member Edan Lui tells Variety in an interview. The statement may come across as a joke. But no, it is not, as fellow member Anson Lo, Lui’s co-star in the 2021 hit ViuTV BL drama “Ossan’s Love Hong Kong,” echoes: “We want to get on some talk shows in the U.S. as well, or any Hollywood movies, TV, live performances. Yes, please invite us.”

The band’s Hollywood wishlist did not emerge just out of the blue. It came after the recording of their English debut single “Rumours,” a catchy EDM-influenced tune that has just been released worldwide Friday (March 17), along with a storied music video that follows the 12 members — Frankie Chan, Alton Wong, Lokman Yeung, Stanley Yau, Anson Kong, Jer Lau, Ian Chan, Jeremy Lee, Keung To, Tiger Yau, Lui and Lo — on a secret mission after a mysterious girl, jammed with dance sequences set in the Hong Kong streetscape.

The release is part of an exclusive deal with Sony Music Entertainment to launch Mirror into the international music space. “Rumours” is helmed by Swedish songwriters and producers Chris Meyer and Alex Ludwig Lindell, whose credits included K-pop groups Super Junior and SHINee. Vocal producer Andrew Choi and Grammy award-nominated mixing engineer Ken Lewis are among the supporting A&R team working alongside producer Edward Chan. 

The outcome is a song with a more mature sound than Mirror’s earlier group hits such as “Ignited,” “Boss” and “Warrior.” Band members added that they had help from a voice coach for their performance in English, which proved to be a challenge for them as they grew up speaking Cantonese in Hong Kong.

The release of “Rumours” also proved to be a major step forward for Mirror after last year’s shocking incident where a giant video screen fell from the ceiling during their Hong Kong concert. The serious incident not only injured two dancers, one severely, it also abruptly ended the group’s concert series and shelved the band’s initial overseas launch plans. Band members suspended work for about a month to process the unfortunate events.

“It was a very difficult time for us, for dancers, and for Hong Kong citizens. We really needed the time to digest what happened. We couldn’t understand why or how it could happen,” Lui says.

“We tried to deal with our emotions first,” adds Stanley Yau. “And during our time off, we strived to keep learning new skills or polish our crafts as part of the process.” 

“The most important thing for us right now is to get back on stage. We must be strong for our fans. They waited for us to make a comeback,” Lo notes.

Mirror rose to stardom in the beginning of 2021 after band member Keung To became the youngest to win the coveted My Favorite Male Singer Award and My Favorite Song Award at the Ultimate Song Chart Awards Presentation. It came at a time when Hong Kong was enduring a challenging political and social environment, following a series of political turmoil and tough COVID restrictions. The band’s success brought a glimpse of hope to the Hong Kong public.

And Mirror is credited for reviving people’s interests in Cantonese-language pop music, which fell out of favor for nearly a decade, when many stars had ventured into the vast mainland Chinese market and focused on Mando-pop (songs performed in Mandarin).

Music-wise, Mirror’s English debut might not sound too different from the K-pop dance tunes that have dominated the mainstream, the band admits. But in terms of how the band works, Mirror is adamant that they stand in stark contrast to their K-pop contemporaries. 

“Unlike typical K-pop idols, we are not confined to a particular perfect image or to look a certain way,” Lui says. “We can always make funny faces, make fun of others during our interviews, or even act a little crazy. We can just keep laughing.”

Although Mirror is primarily a pop group, each member has individual projects, too. Jeremy Lee, Jer Lau, and Ian Chan, for example, have each released their own singles within the past month. 

Some are also involved in film and television projects. The band’s leader Lokman Yeung (“The Way We Dance”) made an appearance in Berlin for the world premiere of Soi Cheang’s crime thriller “Mad Fate,” in which he plays one of the main characters. The film is also one of two curtain-raisers for the Hong Kong International Film Festival, opening on March 30. 

Mirror launching ‘We 12’ movie in Hong Kong. Patrick Frater

The past week also saw Mirror attend the Hong Kong FilMart for the announcement of their new film projects, including crime drama “The Moon Thieves” starring Lo and Lui, who are currently shooting the film in Japan. All 12 members will also make their group film debut in sci-fi hero fantasy “We 12,” produced by their management MakerVille, a subsidiary of PCCW.